Morton's Neuroma

Morton's neuroma occurs as the nerve passes under the ligament connecting the toe bones (metatarsals) in the forefoot. It is more common in women than in men. It usually occurs in the space, between the third and fourth toes. Morton's neuroma, is also called plantar neuroma.

Morton's Neuroma Symptoms & Anatomy

In Morton's neuroma, tissue that surrounds the digital nerve leading to the toes becomes thick. Morton's neuroma is most often caused by flat feet, pressure, irritation or injury.
The most common symptoms are:

  • burning pain in the ball of foot
  • numbness in the toes
  • sharp or dull pain between the third and fourth toes

Morton's Neuroma Treatment

Initial therapies are nonsurgical and relatively simple. They can involve one or more of the following treatments:

Changes in footwear. Avoid high heels or tight shoes, and wear wider shoes with lower heels and a soft sole. This enables the bones to spread out and may reduce pressure on the nerve, giving it time to heal.

Orthoses. Custom shoe inserts and pads also help relieve irritation by lifting and separating the bones, reducing the pressure on the nerve.

Injection. One or more injections of a corticosteroid medication can reduce the swelling and inflammation of the nerve, bringing some relief.

Several studies have shown that a combination of roomier, more comfortable shoes, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, custom foot orthoses and cortisone injections provide relief in over 80 percent of people with Morton's Neuroma.

Morton's Neuroma Surgery

If conservative treatment does not relieve your symptoms, your orthopaedic surgeon may discuss surgical treatment options with you. Surgery can resect a small portion of the nerve or release the tissue around the nerve, and generally involves a short recovery period.

Learn more about the Foot and Ankle Center at Resurgens Orthopaedics.